Egypt considers creating space agency


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The Egyptian government is considering creating an Egyptian Space Agency.

The Egyptian government believes that the establishment of a space agency is necessary to invigorate and administer space programmes in Egypt, that in turn – it is hoped – will revitalize Egypt’s economy and entrepreneurship. While this approach is not without merit, it has been the cause of significant political controversy in Egypt as many of its citizens have voiced harsh criticism of the country’s space plans as the economy continues to deteriorate.

The proposed space agency will also administer Egyptian ambitions to build and even launch its own satellites.

Essentially, the government needs certain space capabilities (military and communications satellites), and a space agency would serve as its corporate arm for obtaining and managing those capabilities. It would also serve as a place where lots of foreign aid cash could be deposited into the government to be distributed to various friends. Along the way it might also help the economy and help shift Egypt in a more western and commercial direction.

How successful this becomes will depend on whether the Egyptian government lets the crony component dominate the process.

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  • Edward

    From the article: “The Egyptian government believes that the establishment of a space agency is necessary to invigorate and administer space programmes in Egypt, that in turn – it is hoped – will revitalize Egypt’s economy and entrepreneurship. While this approach is not without merit, it has been the cause of significant political controversy in Egypt as many of its citizens have voiced harsh criticism of the country’s space plans as the economy continues to deteriorate.

    Perhaps the Egyptian government believes that space programs and the economic activity surrounding them work outside the laws of economics. If the existing conditions do not allow for a robust economy, adding a space sector to the economy will not change those conditions, and the economy will continue to deteriorate. The approach is without merit.

    Many times throughout history, rulers have tried to be the “invisible hand” that guides a nation’s economy, but they have always failed to build a robust economy that way, because central control of an economy does not do that. It only directs the economy to work in the way that the government wants. The Soviet Union had a robust space sector because the central controllers put sufficient resources into that sector, at the expense of other economic sectors, such as shoes and toilet paper.

    Adam Smith noted that an economy is strongest when the people themselves are the invisible hand, producing what is demanded and thus will sell easily. Alexis de Tocqueville noted that freedom of the individual allows individuals to choose how to best fill the demands of the population, that a centralized government “excels in preventing, not doing.” Thomas Sowell noted that when economic control is local, the individual shopkeeper can adjust prices and purchase goods as needed, reacting quickly to changes in local economic conditions, but central controllers take time to get around to controlling all the many different regions and setting prices and production levels of the thousands and millions of different goods and services, reacting too slowly to changes in local as well as national conditions. Millions of local businessmen do a better job of reacting, adapting, and adjusting than a single centralized committee, legislature, or ruler can ever do.

    History has shown these facts to be true.

    A national space program will do nothing to change that or change the national laws, regulations, and rules that are causing the economic deterioration.

    On the other hand, if the space program is intended to modernize their military and make them a spacefaring nation independent of other spacefaring nations, then that is another matter and a much better reason for developing their own space program.

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